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President Trump Supports Brett Kavanaugh and Looks Forward To The Investigation

In another development Friday, a high school friend of Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, said he was willing to cooperate with any FBI investigation.

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Donald Trump
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA
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Amid a new investigation of his Supreme Court nominee, U.S. President Donald Trump maintained his support for Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Saturday, saying that “hopefully, at the conclusion, everything will be fine.”

Trump, speaking to reporters on the White House South Lawn prior to his departure for a political rally in nearby West Virginia, noted that the FBI “is all over, talking to everybody,” including women who have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, and “I would expect it’s going to turn out very well for the judge.”

The president also accused opposition Democrats of acting terribly and dishonestly during the Kavanaugh confirmation process. He expressed anger about the leak of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation against Kavanaugh, which she sent to a congresswoman but had previously requested remain confidential.

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, before leaving for Wheeling, W.Va. VOA

Despite what Trump told reporters, news reports indicated the White House might be limiting the scope of the FBI’s investigation — such as not permitting scrutiny of the claims of another woman, Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct at parties while he was a prep school student.

Trump administration officials also denied they were restricting areas of inquiry.

“The scope and duration has been set by the Senate,” according to a statement by White House spokesman Raj Shah. “The White House is letting FBI agents do what they are trained to do.”

News reports said the FBI had contacted Deborah Ramirez, the second of Kavanaugh’s accusers. The Associated Press reported that Ramirez’s lawyer, John Clune, said she had agreed to cooperate with agents.

Ramirez alleged in a report published Sept. 23 by The New Yorker magazine that Kavanaugh exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party and shoved his penis in her face, forcing her to touch it while pushing him away. She said the the assault occurred during the 1983-84 school year at Yale University, where they both were students.

Donald Trump
Christine Blasey Ford is sworn in before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sept. 27, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington.. VOA

The FBI was also following up on accusations by Ford, the first woman who accused Kavanaugh. Her story dated to 1982, when they were teenagers. She said he sexually assaulted her at a gathering at a home in suburban Washington. Kavanaugh has angrily denied the allegation.

Both told their stories to the Senate Judiciary Committee separately Thursday in lengthy hearings.

Trump ordered the new investigation Friday at the request of the Judiciary Committee. The consent for a fresh probe was a concession by the Trump administration and Republicans, who had strongly contended that Kavanaugh was thoroughly vetted numerous times.

The Judiciary Committee voted Friday to send Kavanaugh’s nomination for the Supreme Court to the full Senate after securing a party-line vote in favor of the nod, but Arizona Republican Jeff Flake requested a delay in the floor vote and the additional investigation.

“This country is being ripped apart here, and we’ve got to make sure that we do due diligence,” Flake said.

Another Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said Friday that she agreed with Flake’s call for additional FBI investigation.

Donald Trump
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh meets with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

Republicans hold a slim 51-49 margin in the Senate. Kavanaugh needs at least 50 votes to have his nomination confirmed. Vice President Mike Pence would cast the deciding vote if the Senate was evenly split. If all Democrats vote against Kavanaugh, two Republicans would have to do the same to block his confirmation.

Kavanaugh said in a statement released by the White House that he would continue to cooperate with the FBI and the Senate.

Also Read: Christine Ford Testifies Against Brett Kavanaugh; Decision Pending

“Throughout this process, I’ve been interviewed by the FBI, I’ve done a number of ‘background’ calls directly with the Senate, and yesterday, I answered questions under oath about every topic the senators and their counsel asked me. I’ve done everything they have requested and will continue to cooperate,” he said.

In another development Friday, a high school friend of Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, said he was willing to cooperate with any FBI investigation. Judge is likely to figure prominently in any inquiry by the FBI, because Ford contends he was present when Kavanaugh assaulted her at the suburban Washington party. Judge has denied being at any party with Ford when an attack took place. (VOA)

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The Truth About The Killing Of Khashoggi Will Be Revealed By The Turkish President

Amnesty International called on Saudi Arabia to "immediately produce" Khashoggi's body so an autopsy can be performed.

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jamal Khashoggi
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, delivers a speech at supporters in Istanbul. VOA

Saudi Arabia says Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke Monday by telephone with the son of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi to express condolences for the killing.

Khashoggi died after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is vowing to reveal details about the case in a Tuesday speech to his parliament.

He told an Istanbul rally Sunday, “We are looking for justice here and this will be revealed in all its naked truth, not through some ordinary steps.”

Erdogan spoke to U.S. President Donald Trump by telephone Sunday. Turkey’s state-run news agency said both leaders agree the Khashoggi case needs to be “cleared up with all aspects.”

jamal Khashoggi
(FILE)- Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. VOA

Saudi Arabia called Khashoggi’s killing inside its Istanbul consulate “a huge and grave mistake” and vowed those responsible for it would be held accountable.

Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Fox News Sunday that Saudi agents “did this out of the scope of their authority,” calling it “a rogue operation.”

The top Saudi diplomat offered his condolences to Khashoggi’s family, but disclosed no new information about how the writer was killed, where his body is or if Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — the country’s de facto ruler – was involved.

“There obviously was a tremendous mistake made and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up,” al-Jubeir said. “That is unacceptable in any government.”

jamal Khashoggi
Saudi Arabi’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. VOA

Saudi Arabia claims the 59-year-old Khashoggi was killed October 2 after an argument leading to a fist fight — an explanation that has drawn widespread international scorn and skepticism, including from Trump. After he initially seemed willing to believe Saudi accounts, the president now says “obviously there has been deception, and there has been lies.”

Al-Jubeir said in the Fox television interview, “This is an aberration. This is a mistake and those responsible will be punished for it. We want to make sure that we know what happened and we want to make sure that those responsible be held to account.” Saudi Arabia says it has fired five key officials linked to the death and arrested 18 others.

Critics are questioning how a team of 15 Saudi agents could fly to Istanbul to meet Khashoggi and eventually kill him without the crown prince’s knowledge and consent. But al-Jubeir said, “There were not people closely tied to him,” although news accounts have said that several Saudi security officials close to Mohammed were involved.

jamal Khashoggi
This image taken from CCTV video obtained by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet and made available on Oct. 9, 2018 claims to show Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. VOA

Khashoggi was living in the U.S. in self-imposed exile, writing columns for The Washington Post that were critical of Mohammed and Saudi Arabia’s intervention in the conflict in Yemen.

Trump told the Post that Saudi Arabia has been an “incredible ally” of the United States for decades and it is possible the crown prince did not order Saudi agents to kill Khashoggi.

“Nobody has told me he is responsible. Nobody has told me he is not responsible,” the U.S. leader said. “We have not reached that point…I would love if he was not responsible.”

Numerous U.S. lawmakers, including Trump’s Republican colleagues, are calling for sanctions against the Saudis. Turkish investigators say Saudi agents tortured Khashoggi, decapitated him and then dismembered his body.

jamal Khashoggi
In a frame from surveillance camera footage taken Oct. 2, 2018, and published Oct. 18, 2018, by Turkish newspaper Sabah, a man identified by Turkish officials as Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, walks toward the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. VOA

Trump told the Post that “something will take place” in response to Khashoggi’s death, but said the United States should not let the incident disrupt a possible $110 billion weapons sale to Riyadh he announced last year.

“It’s the largest order in history,” Trump said. “To give that up would hurt us far more than it hurts them. Then all they’ll do is go to Russia or go to China. All that’s doing is hurting us.”

But one Trump supporter, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, told Fox “I don’t think arms should ever be seen as a jobs program.”

Other U.S. lawmakers voiced skepticism of the Saudi explanation for Khashoggi’s death.

Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN he believes Mohammed bin Salman was responsible, saying, “Yes, I think he did it.”

 

jamal Khashoggi
President Donald Trump talks to reporters about journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance prior to boarding Air Force One for travel to Montana from Joint Base Andrews, Md. VOA

A Trump critic, Democratic California Congressman Adam Schiff, told ABC News, “This ought to be a relationship-altering event for the U.S. and Saudi Arabia that we ought to suspend military sales, we ought to suspend certain security assistance.”

U.S. officials are faced with reconciling the Saudi explanation for Khashoggi’s death and Turkey’s claim an audio recording exists of Khashoggi’s torture and death. Trump denies U.S. officials have heard the audio or read transcripts of it, but the Post quoted sources saying that Central Intelligence Agency officials have listened to the audio. Verification of it would make it difficult to accept the Saudi explanation for Khashoggi’s death.

European leaders and the human rights group Amnesty International expressed skepticism about the Saudi explanation.

Britain, Germany and France issued a joint statement condemning the killing of Khashoggi and said there is an “urgent need for clarification of exactly what happened.” They said the Saudi explanation for the journalist’s death needs to be supported by facts in order to be credible.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the circumstances around Khashoggi’s death are deeply troubling, and called for a thorough, credible and transparent investigation.

Amnesty International called on Saudi Arabia to “immediately produce” Khashoggi’s body so an autopsy can be performed.

Also Read: USA And Other Countries Pledge To Eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade

Amnesty’s director of campaigns for the Middle East, Samah Hadid, said a United Nations investigation would be necessary to avoid a “Saudi whitewash” of the circumstances surrounding Khashoggi’s death. Hadid said such a cover-up may have been done to preserve Saudi Arabia’s international business ties. (VOA)